When we make conclusive assumptions we sell the other party short.
While assumptions in relationships do not have to be negative, it is nonetheless false or inaccurate at best. It is only on a few occasions that assumptions are accurate and to continue assuming based on the fact that sometimes we are correct can be likened to the fact that people don’t always die from gunshots, but should you wait to be shot?
The concern today is about the negative assumptions we make about people. Without ambiguity, it must be stated that when we make negative assumptions they influence our decisions and actions about the next person and by so doing, we are not being gracious. The easiest way to show this is by our words.
You can measure the degree of your prudence in speech by how many times people have to tell you “you don’t say that about people” or “that’s unkind” when they are the third party. It is obvious that such people will be extra careful with you because you might go on to say similar things about them to others.
Words are powerful and it is humbling to know that they say talk is cheap. How can something so powerful be available to both the sensible and the senseless?
Most of us don’t mind sitting with a soldier carrying his gun even though we know that the weapon can kill, but we will not feel so comfortable seeing the same kind of gun with a young boy, even if it is a toy or the real thing not loaded.
This is what happens when we are not gracious in our speech, we are more or less like the inexperienced wielding an automatic assault rifle.
I hardly take note of my words, maybe when they are damaging I pay due attention to them. Do you pay attention to your words? The difference between us who scarcely pay attention to what we say and those who do is why we call some people thoughtful, kind and sensitive. We rarely give them these appellations for spectacular things they have done, but we often praise them like so for their gracious speech.
I think assumption is the sweet sounding name we give jumping to conclusions. Whatever happened to the advice “look before you leap”? It is not exactly fitting to this discuss but is applicable. Experience must have shown a lot of us that the ground on either side of a wall are not always levelled. The other side might be more raised or deeper and sometimes the other side is not a ground at all but a river or worse. Assumption is like leaping over the wall without the knowledge of what is on the other side or how the ground is, if it is a ground at all.
Do you carelessly make cutting remarks and demeaning points in assumption against another fellow? You are not being gracious and that is to state it mildly that you are not prudent in speech. The Yoruba people will put it like “you have not used your brain to speak”(loosely translated). If I say that to you that in itself is not gracious, but that is exactly what we do when we are not gracious in speech.
How did we get here? By making assumptions, especially negative ones. If we make positive assumptions, that may mean being gracious too. But when we say what we don’t know as if we know for sure that our neighbour is bad, we are not doing well simply put, we are not being prudent.
It is hard to say don’t assume and more harder not to assume, but whatever assumption we are going to make about people, we must make sure that it is such that will bring the best out of them and not the one that will bring out their wrath.
Since I am not sure how the ground on the other side of the wall is, assumption is indeed a dangerous exercise. I believe you know what assumption is, jumping to conclusion. I hope you did not assume this article is going to be about one dangerous sport or the other, if you did because of the topic, that is an example of jumping to conclusion. While it is harmless in this case, it is indeed dangerous in real world.
Dangerous exercise: Jumping to conclusions. Anonymous
Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out. Col 4:6 MSG